Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is going to be packing some really neat features but it won't be out until July for Nexus phones. Which means, up until then, everyone's stuck with Ice Cream Sandwich, though we know most are still waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich to come in the first place.
But despair not. You can get some Jelly Bean features already.
Real-Time Notifications for Events, Places, and More
The most exciting feature of Google Now is the ability to track your upcoming calendar events and tell you when its time to leave. Bounce actually brings this feature to Android already and gives you driving directions. Link it up to Google or Exchange calendar and it will calculate traffic data and send you a notification of when it's time for you to leave wherever you are.
The main thing Google Now brings is the ability to get notifications for all these things in one place, but it isn't too much of a hassle to set up a few different apps for only the features you want.
Google's Knowledge-Graph search isn't new to Android. Jelly Bean makes search better with its new voice assistant, and for that there are a lot of other suggestions out there already right now. For Android, that app is Vlingo. It can perform web searchers, look up movie showtimes, buy tickets, book hotel rooms and more. And it can also perform other specific searches using only your voice.
It's all about the notifications these days. It's hard to reproduce Jelly Bean's expandable notifications, but if you're looking to boost your phone's notification powers before Jelly Bean hits, then you can check out NottifierPro.
It gives you larger banners when you get a notification, and a contact image and the content of the incoming message as well.
Most of Android's voice command apps require the internet. But one app called Voice Control Without Internet can do without a connection (as it's name implies). Except, it doesn't have a ton of commands built in, but you can create them yourself using a phonetic alphabet. Worth a look!